ST. LOUIS -- A Wednesday rainout might make the St. Louis Cardinals' task a bit tougher Friday.
St. Louis, originally slated to face Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler and his 5.01 ERA, instead will have to contend with New York right-hander Jacob deGrom in the opener of a weekend series at Busch Stadium.
DeGrom (8-3, 3.55 ERA) has been the ace of an injury-plagued Mets pitching staff. New York (38-45) has lost three in a row, including consecutive road games against the Washington Nationals.
The Mets' series finale in Washington was washed out after a delay of close to two hours, meaning that deGrom's turn would be moved back about 48 hours. The right-hander has been outstanding with extra rest of late, going 4-0 with an 0.84 ERA in his past four starts -- all with five days of rest between outings.
That includes a 2-1 victory June 30 against Philadelphia at Citi Field, where deGrom dominated for seven innings. He gave up a run and three hits, walking one and fanning 12 in a 111-pitch outing.
In three career starts against the Cardinals, deGrom is 1-2 with a 5.82 ERA, giving up 25 hits and 11 runs over 17 innings.
The Mets could use a great outing from deGrom. Their offense has been inconsistent and their defense hasn't picked up the slack, either. They are 29th in the majors at turning batted balls into outs at 68.5 percent.
"If you're going to pitch, you've got to catch it," manager Terry Collins said after an 11-4 loss Tuesday afternoon in Washington. "Some of the best pitching in baseball has some of the best defense in baseball."
Defense hasn't been a strength of the Cardinals, either, although they at least turned in a clean game Thursday in stopping the Miami Marlins 4-3. In fact, they executed a flawless 5-6-4 double play on a poor bunt in the eighth inning, essentially cutting off a Marlins rally.
While deGrom has had a couple of rough outings against St. Louis (41-44), his mound opponent tends to deal against New York. Carlos Martinez (6-7, 3.15 ERA) owns a 3-1 record and a 1.26 ERA in seven career outings (four starts) vs. the Mets.
Martinez got the best of deGrom last August in Busch Stadium, posting an 8-1 victory, but he is coming off a rare rough outing. Washington roughed him up for five runs in five innings Sunday night, beating him 7-2 just hours after he was selected to his second National League All-Star team.
Cardinals rookie first baseman Luke Voit, who has started the past four games, appears to have locked down an everyday job for the time being. His power has played very well this week; he hit a 429-foot homer Monday and a 446-foot bomb into Big Mac Land on Thursday.
That one resonated with Voit, who grew up in the St. Louis area idolizing Mark McGwire.
"Another 'wow moment,'" Voit said. "Especially when it landed there. It's something I've wanted to do my whole life. To have it happen was pretty sweet."